Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cookin' Soul Pays Tribute To Gil Scott Heron

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Authors@Google: Rainn Wilson

Rainn Wilson spoke to Googlers in Mountain View on January 6, 2011 about his book SoulPancake: Chew on Life's Big Questions. Rainn is in conversation with Jesse Nichols.

Bedstuy Betty Reviews The Weeknd's House of Balloons

These days the world of R&B is taking on a more hallucinatory and surreal approach with artists such as Frank Ocean, James Blake, and Beach House at the wheel.  With that said, The Weeknd is definitely the newest alum.  House of Balloons is equal parts grimy debauchery and polished production as 22-year-old singer Abel Tesfaye belts in falsetto about drugs, sex, and partying. Initially generating a low buzz in late 2010 when a few tracks were uploaded to YouTube for consumption as well as a cosign from Drake on his blog, not much was known about the Toronto-based group which is also comprised of producers Martin “Doc” McKinney and Illangelo.  With such themes, I probably would like to maintain an air of anonymity myself.  Don’t misunderstand though, House of Balloons is exactly what you want playing after a party at 5 in the morning when almost everyone has gone home and there’s littered glasses and bottles everywhere.

With the opening lyric on the first track “High For This”, “you don’t know what’s in store, but you know just what you’re here for...” Tesfaye creates a seductive aura over a hypnotic beat with light distortion. Throughout the song, there’s an evident quality of desire that is both visceral and alluring as he assures a girl for whatever act they’re about to engage in, she should be in an altered state. The Weeknd samples Siouxie and the Banshees’ “Happy House” for its title track as his falsetto implores the listener throughout the chorus that “this is a happy house” but as the song progresses it becomes slightly more mournful. Then like walking through a portal into an almost Odd Future setting, “Glass Table Girls” is quite obviously about that powdery white stuff while Tesfaye switches his style up opting out the falsetto for a sing-songy rap that’s more ramble than structured. The raw element of honesty present throughout the album also appears here as one lyric states: “I heard he do drugs now, you heard wrong I’ve been on it for a minute...”

Suffice to say with such hints, The Weeknd obviously lives it up and knows the party scene intimately. However their body of work thus far, also carries an honesty that’s indicative of the potential growth in R&B. While there’s little news about their next moves, Drake has tapped the singer for the OVO Festival in Toronto for late July along with rapper Rick Ross and there are rumors that he may end up working with Drake’s producer Noah "40" Shebib. We’ll see how long The Weeknd maintains their air of mystery.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Big Remo - Side Of The City (Music Video)

Side Of The City is featured on Big Remo's Robin Hood Ree Mixtape.

Elzhi - Detroit State Of Mind Pt. II [Prod. by Khrysis] (Featuring Sean Boog & DJ Flash)

Adam Sessler & X-Play Staff Discuss L.A. Noire & More

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bedstuy Betty Reviews Frank Ocean's Nostalgia, Ultra

It’s increasingly rare that one finds a song, let alone an EP that possesses a cinematic feel coupled with stellar production, and innovative lyrics that provides a fully satisfactory experience. Most would scoff that such an occurrence is impossible. Well non-believers, your search is over; Nostalgia, Ultra by Odd Future’s Frank Ocean is exactly that and more. While most have come to expect from the group, their standard version of horror core in a vein similar to that of Eminem, Ocean’s mixtape is akin to a breath of fresh air. However, don’t romanticize him too strongly. His lyrics still belie a crassness that’s in good standing with the group’s general archetype.

The EP starts off with the interlude “Street Fighter” which is essentially the sounds of someone going through the motions of switching between cassette tapes (remember that, kids?). The first actual song is “Strawberry Swing”, which is sampled from a Coldplay track of the same title. It speaks on a remembrance of simpler times, the nostalgia almost tangible as you drift away into the prettiness of this track, only to be brought back to reality by a harsh alarm clock towards the end. The next track “Novacane” has a slight early 2000’s R&B swing to it as Ocean croons about his craving for a girl with dentistry aspirations as she pays for her tuition “doing porn in the valley”. He doesn’t appear to be put off by it though as he wishes to be with her constantly, equating her love to the numbing effects of the track title.

Ocean reveals another facet to his soul with the song “We All Try”, a simply evocative piece where he speaks on his beliefs with the resounding assurance that we all try to be better people despite our faults. Very similar in vibe to any one of Marvin’s socially conscious classics, I wouldn’t readily admit to this but it moved me to tears. A following track “Lovecrimes” reverts back to the familiar direction of this EP, as Ocean sings about a certain girl that drives him insane while a scene from Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” plays out underneath both the melody and the lyrics. While one would think of this as disconcerting, the juxtaposition is oddly perfect. Other notable tracks include “Songs for Women”, “There Will Be Tears”, “American Wedding”, and “Nature Feels” where Ocean samples from artists such as Mr. Hudson, The Eagles, and MGMT.

Most of the content in Nostalgia, Ultra exhibits a surrealistic edge as well as a realistic depiction of how we play our life out in our heads. For a new artist, Ocean is a great indicator how good pop music could be in this generation, and it appears that folks are ravenous for it. Despite conflict with Ocean, Def Jam will be re-releasing the EP on iTunes on July 26 with “Novacane” as its first single. There are also reports that Nas has recruited him for a project. Guess I’ll be waiting around with the rest of the world for that to drop, hopefully sooner than later.

Skyzoo - Written In The Drums (Audio)

Stalley - Chevys & Space Ships (Audio)

@iFanboy - Icons: Frank Miller

When you talk about the most important comic book creators of the last 30 years, indeed, of all time, you have to include Frank Miller in the discussion. From his early work at Marvel Comics revitalizing Daredevil and his superstar making turn on Wolverine to his industry altering work on The Dark Knight Returns, Daredevil: Born Again, and Batman : Year One to his creator-owned work like Ronin, Sin City, Martha Washington, and 300 and to his controversial return to DC Comics with The Dark Knight Strikes Again and All-Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder, and to his side trips to Hollywood with Robocop 2 and 3, Sin City, and The Spirit, Frank Miller has never failed to shake-up the comic book industry over the course of his career.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nikki Lynette - Roses N' Guns 2: The BADDER ASSED Mixtape

Random Axe - The Hex (Music Video)

Pete Rock & Smif N Wessun - Monumental (Cover Art & Track Listing)

01 Intro
02 Monumental (Featuring Tyler Woods & Pete Rock)
03 Prevail (Featuring Raekwon)
04 That's Hard (Featuring Sean Price & Styles P)
05 Top Of The World (Featuring Memphis Bleek)
06 Feel Me (Featuring Rock of Heltah Skeltah & Bun B)
07 Roses (Featuring Freeway)
08 Fire
09 This One (Featuring Top Dog & Jahdan Blakkamoore of Noble Society)
10 Do It (Featuring Hurricane G)
11 Nighttime (Featuring Pete Rock & Buckshot)
12 (I'm a) Stand Up Guy (Featuring Black Rob)
13 Go Off
14 Time To Say

Street Date: June 28th

@Tekzilla Tip - Secret Amazon Price Drops!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

@KingMez & @Khrysis - Something's Missing (Music Video)

Something's Missing is featured on The King’s Khrysis Mixtape.

@BedstuyBetty Reviews Mara Hruby's From Her Eyes

On a late Sunday night I find myself restless, perhaps it’s because I can finally feel those notes of Spring drifting into my window or the more likely reason is because I’m an insomniac.  However, I was pleasantly surprised by From Her Eyes, the debut EP of West Coast artist Mara Hruby.  Originally from Oakland, CA she began performing in 2010 all over the Bay Area before then taking nine solid months to work on her first release, even going as far as to record as well as arrange & engineer her vocals.  The 22-year-old artist has compiled seven tracks of covers originally recorded by male artists and as music has a tendency of doing, each song has touched her life in some monumental way.

Her ethereal notes pull us in on the first track “Stereolab (Lose Myself)”, a song originally recorded by The Roots for the Dilla Joints tribute album. Her simple but beautiful voice leaves haunting harmonies over chill guitar riffs and an austere beat. This track is also Mara’s first single and there’s video out for it now directed by none other than singer/songwriter Jesse Boykins III. A following track covering Jamiroquai’s “Alright” is totally stripped down and smooth. She maintains a fine line between funk and chill jazz that I’m sure would even make Jay Kay proud. Her tonality does remind me slightly of Amel Larrieaux but that merely adds another facet to this track.

Mayer Hawthorne - Impressions (The Covers)

Skyzoo - The Definitive Prayer (Audio & Music Video)

Jay Smooth (@jsmooth995) On The Media & Donald Trump

I'm glad to see him putting out more videos in the last few weeks. His voice is badly needed.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Random Axe - Cover Art & Tracklist

01. Zoo Drugs
02. Random Call
03. Black Ops (Featuring Fat Ray)
04. Chewbacca (Featuring Roc Marciano)
05. The Hex
06. Understand This
07. Everybody, Nobody, Somebody
08. Jahphy Joe (Featuring Melanie Rutherford & Danny Brown)
09. The Karate Kid
10. Never Back Down
11. Monster Babies
12. Shirley C (Featuring Fatt Father)
13. Another One (Featuring Rock & Trick Trick)
14. 4 In The Box
15. Outro Smoutro

Random Axe drops June 14 on Duck Down Records

Elzhi - Halftime (Music Video & Audio)

Lupe Fiasco Live Performance In New York (Video)

Just Listen: WTF with Marc Maron Featuring Patton Oswalt

I stumbled upon a great podcast for fans of comedy called WTF with Marc Maron.  For the first few minutes of the podcast you typically have to endure a monologue of the comedian working through his issues, but once you get past that you are treated with a cool conversation between two comedians talking about the business of comedy.  Think of it as Inside The Actors Studio for comedians & comedy writers.

In this particular episode he sits down with one of my favorite comedians, Patton Oswalt where they discuss Oswalt's book and how selling out helped him finance Feelin' Kinda Patton & The Comedians Of Comedy.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hannibal Buress Live In Pittsburgh May 26th - May 29th!

Hannibal Buress will be in town for a total of six shows at the Improv.  I highly recommend making it to one of his shows if you are in the area.  You don't take my word for it:
“If Steven Wright, Mos Def and Dave Chappelle had a baby, that would be disgusting, but it would sound like Hannibal Buress. The funniest young comic I’ve seen in years.”
Chris Rock

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Seth Myers On SNL, Donald Trump, Barack Obama & #NerdProm